Unit 20

Question 1 : Why do people use the expression ‘you know’ while speaking English?
Question 2: What are the differences between the words ‘make’ and ‘do’ and how do we use them?
Question 3: How do I understand the meaning of the words while reading English books?

Unit 20

Hi everybody, this is Misterduncan in England. How are you today? Are you ok? I hope so! Are you happy? I hope so!
Here I am with you all once again as October looms over the horizon and the long shadows of winter creep ever nearer.
Yes it’s time to take rummage through what I like to call my e-mail inbox. Another selection of your questions and comments await.
So without any more dilly – dallying and lollygagging, let’s have our first question for today.

Why do people use the expression ‘you know’ while speaking English?

Do you know what I’m doing? I’m looking at one of my videos.
Please yourself.

This interesting question comes from Nicole who lives in Canada.
First it is worth noting that during everyday speech, people tend to use involuntary phrases and words in their sentences. It is common to hear people use phrases such as ‘you know’ as a way of reinforcing their statement. It is a kind of phrasal tic. A speech habit.  It is supposed to add emphasis to the point a person is making, you know. It is what I do when I’m telling you something, you know.

Another speech habit is where the person says ‘yeah’ in or at the end of almost every sentence.

My mate goes down to the shops, yeah, cause he’s out of bread, yeah. When he gets there, yeah, the place is closed.
This can be a little annoying to listen to.
My mate Bill, he’s a lawyer, yeah. He said he can help you get your money back, yeah.

Other phrasal tics include repeatedly using ‘actually’ or ‘basically’, as well as ‘I know’, as another person is explaining something or talking about their problems.
Basically, actually, you know, yeah? It’s annoying.

What are the differences between the words ‘make’ and ‘do’ and how do we use them?

Note to self. Don’t forget to put the rubbish out tomorrow morning before you leave.
You are such an idiot, can’t you remember a simple thing like putting your trash out?
Don’t you hate it when technology answers you back?
Cheeky thing!

This question comes from Alim, who lives in the Ukrainan Republic or Crimea.

There is a definite difference between these two words in that one refers to actions where something is created or made. ‘Make a pie’ ‘Make a hole’‘Make a video’ ‘Make money’. Although the last example has two meanings – to create money or to earn money.

The word ‘do’ tends to be used when describing an action where something is achieved. ‘Do the laundry’ ‘Do your homework’ ‘Do some gardening’.
‘Do’ generally related to work that will be done or has been completed. ‘Do’ thường liên quan đến việc sẽ xong hoặc đã được hoàn thành However there are times when both can be used. For example – you can ‘make a portrait’ or you can ‘do a portrait’. In this case one describes the work and the other describes the result of the work.

In the past tense we did a portrait or we made a portrait.

Synonyms of ‘make’ include – Build – Construct – Create – Compose – Craft  and ‘put together’. The opposite of ‘make’ is ‘destroy’.

Some animal idioms!

Believe it or not, there are many idioms in English relating to animals.

Straight from the horse’s mouth

To hear something or get information directly from a person who is most involved or connected to the subject in hand.
‘I got this information straight from the horses mouth.

Work like a dog

This means to work for very little reward or to be treated badly in your job. ‘My boss makes me work like a dog’.

 As happy as a pig in mud

To feel content and satisfied with your situation.

I am as happy as a pig in mud.

‘The bee’s knees’Something that is of a high standard or quality. ‘This new TV is the bee’s knees.’

Crocodile tears

To cry and shed tears without feeling any real emotion. You pretend to cry.

A bull in a china shop

To rush into a situation without thinking it through, or to be careless.

Dressed like a dog’s dinner

A person who wears clothes that are over-stylish or unsuitable for their age. ‘He or she is dressed up like a dog’s dinner.’

How do I understand the meaning of the words while reading English books?

This question was sent in by Dulani, who comes from Sri Lanka, but is now studying here in the UK with her husband.
Well, as far as improving your English goes, it all depends on your own level of English and how difficult the text is to understand in the first place.

It is always tempting to avoid reading books which have been written in a very simple way, using basic English.

Some English students find them insulting and patronizing, but the fact is you have to start somewhere Although this is not your situation, there is no shame in  adult reading books aimed at young children. If they provide the education needed. I think the hardest part of learning a new language for an adult is accepting the feeling of learning like a child. But in fact, learning any new skill often starts with the most basic elements. I always say that everything starts with A B C. The best way to learn is through grasping the basics.

For your particular situation I would recommend that you buy or borrow a dictionary that has been written in your own language and has the English translation for each word placed alongside those listed. These days English translation dictionaries are available in a wide range of languages. It is an invaluable tool for improving your grasp of the language while boosting your word power at the same time. I hope this is helpful to you Dulani and a big hello to your husband Thumula, I hope you both have a great time here in the UK.  

It’s that time again?

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and any passing extra terrestrials curious about the life on this planet. It’s here again – the feature they tried to stop, suppress, ban and forbid, but couldn’t.  ‘It is the word of the week’

This week’s word is : Obnoxious
This is a negative word, which describes a person who is hateful or has a cruel and cold nature. They are unbearable and detestable. The word is often confused with ‘arrogant’, which means a person who shows off and likes to boast and brag. So that person would be arrogant and obnoxious. They would be hated and detested because they brag.

The opposite of ‘obnoxious’ is ‘nice’. That is all from me this week. I will see you again soon with some more of your questions and comments. Until then, this is Misterduncan in England saying thank you for asking me and of course… Ta ta for now.

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